© St. Petersburg Times, published February 5, 2003
KOROLYOV, Russia -- A Russian cargo craft docked Tuesday at the international space station, carrying fuel, food and water.
Maneuvering on autopilot, the unmanned Progress M-47 linked to the station two days after it lifted off atop a Soyuz-U rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan.
"The docking went normally, without any problems whatsoever," Yuri Semyonov, head of the company that makes the Progress, said at mission control outside Moscow.
The Progress brought about 2.75 tons of fuel and other supplies, including food, water and parcels for Americans Kenneth Bowersox and Donald Pettit and Russian Nikolai Budarin.
The space station has depended on shuttles to deliver most supplies. With other shuttles grounded pending the investigation into the Columbia disaster, Russian missions now remain the only link to the 16-nation outpost.
Semyonov said U.S. and Russian space officials now are pondering ways to run the orbiting complex during the break in shuttle missions.
"We are okay on food and fuel," he said. "The most critical situation is with water . . . since in the past, U.S. space shuttles have delivered a lot of water."
There is a water regeneration unit on the station, and mission control spokesman Valery Lyndin said the crew has sufficient reserves to last until the next Progress supply mission, scheduled for June.
Mission control chief Vladimir Solovyov said a Soyuz spacecraft is set to blast off for the station in late April with a replacement crew.
Russian astronaut Pavel Vinogradov said that the next crew likely would include just two men, instead of the usual three, and that they would remain in orbit for six months, instead of four.
Four Israelis are in Houston to help find the remains of the seven astronauts, including Israeli Ilan Ramon, who perished in the Columbia disaster.
The ultra-Orthodox Jews are volunteers for the ZAKA organization, which is charged with the important task of recovering remains for burial according to Jewish law. ZAKA is a Hebrew acronym for "identifying disaster victims."
Volunteer Israel Stefansky said they hope to "find Ilan Ramon and bring him back to Israel."
According to Jewish law, all body parts of a Jewish person must be buried, preferably in Israel.
That is especially important in the case of Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut.
"Every Jew has to be brought to burial, and the other astronauts also, they are also important," Stefansky said. "I'm sure that their families also want a grave to visit."
Xpressions, the St. Petersburg Times showcase of young readers' art and writing, plans a special page about the space shuttle Columbia.
Submit your poetry, prose and artwork for consideration to "A tribute to Columbia," c/o Xpress, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Work must be received by Feb. 12.
Please include your name, age, grade, school and a phone number in case we need to reach you.
Only artwork will be returned, and only if you provide a complete return mailing address.
You also may e-mail submissions to Floridian@sptimes.com with "A tribute to Columbia" in the subject line. E-mail users, please note: We cannot accept attachments.